Monday, July 27, 2009

Paris Artwalk photos 17 July 2009

I'm running a bit late with this but here are pictures from the most recent Paris Artwalk that was held on 17 July 2009. For this Artwalk, I ended up displaying alone as Cliff Sullivan could not make it this time. Cliff, if you are reading this, we missed you and Melissa. Hope to see you next time!

The first picture (click on any photo to enlarge) is of the love of my life Valerie Powell. Valerie made this Artwalk an even more wonderful experience. I'm waiting until I finish the painting Amor Aeterna to tell a little something of our story which reaches back many many years. This was taken before Artwalk opened and I was getting shots of everything.

The next picture is of the sandwich board Valerie and I put together out of plywood lying around our garage and I velcroed poster frames to it so I could easily swap in informational posters or other material. The board includes two rings mounted at the top to tie the balloons to. Artwalk days are notoriously windy, this one was no different. In the background of the photo, Marilyn Campbell is coming up the street with the balloons that denotes an Artwalk participant.

As you can see in this picture, I've set up a gramophone near the door. Valerie is listening to Fritz Kriesler play the Meditation from Thais. I thought that since gramophones appear so often in my paintings that I would play 78's during Artwalk as a way of attracting people inside. It worked like a charm. We probably had over 150 people troop through to look at the paintings as well as participate in an unintended sociological experiment with the gramophone. People who encountered a device playing music that used not a single watt of electricity and was completely mechanical seemed to have three reactions to it--fascination as they had never seen such a thing before; nostalgia as they or someone in their family had a wind up gramophone, and to my surprise, terror. That's right, terror. When small children were involved the two major reactions were either fascination or terror. The gramophone was big and loud, and sometimes a child would ask me what it was. I realised the best answer was to say "an iPod from the 19th Century". Then they seemed to understand.

In the interest of full disclosure, the gramophone I brought was a modified "His Master's Voice" typically found on eBay. It's functions completely like an original machine but the horn, tone arm, sound box and wood cabinet are only about seven years old. The only "original" parts are the motor and turntable. Alas, the machine is fake but it plays quite nicely for what it is. I had intended to bring my 1907 Columbia BI Sterling that is actually featured in the paintings but the threat of rain made me reticient about transporting it outside.

A final note about the gramophone. I had been taking photos with my digital camera which worked perfectly until I started playing the gramophone. After about the second record, my camera would immediately drain batteries. Valerie went out and bought me another package of batteries from the nearby Dollar store. I then proceeded to drain all six batteries in less than five minutes. I usually photograph in "Museum" mode without the flash to extend battery life. Camera had worked perfectly up until that point. So as a result, I didn't get any crowd pictures when the restaurant was packed with people. A few days after Artwalk, I got around to putting in another set of batteries and the camera has worked perfectly ever since. Ghost hunters take note: the rapidly draining batteries is a classic sign of something afoot when paranormal activity in a place is suspected.

Among the many people I talked to over the course of the event, I had a nice conversation with Clay Wainscott from Lexington. When the old (and much missed) Bistro147 restaurant was in operation in Lexington, I shared wall space with him there. He also used to write very sensible and well thought out essays about art under the pseudonym of Les Moore for the ceased local paper Nougat. (Sonny Sizemore, if you're reading this, I still have your painting of the gramophone safe and ready to bring back to you)

In the picture below Valerie and I are standing in front of the painting I did of us called Dreaming True. All pictures below taken by Beth Hensel with her trusty iPhone.

The next picture also shot by Beth, Valerie and I do a little waltz while the gramophone is playing in between moments of the space being packed with visitors.

It is always a treat when the people who model for my paintings make it to Artwalk. This is Norma Gilpin who is the model for the lady in the boat in the night sky paintings and a dear friend.

Beth took this picture of Valerie and I towards the end of Artwalk, happy but tired. We spoke to a lot more people than I had previously seen at Artwalks past. It was a pleasure and an honour to introduce Valerie to friends and acquaintances. She was a huge help to me in ways too numerous to mention here.

As always, I wish to thank Marilyn Campbell for hosting me and for the refreshments and everything she brings to Artwalk. Marilyn makes it fun. I also would like to thank my Paris library friends for stopping by, Valerie and I enjoyed seeing all of you.

The summer is flying by. Hope everyone is having a good one.